Story Of A Heart and the music of Benny Andersson

benny09Just 24 hours ago the new Benny Andersson Band song ‘Story Of A Heart’ had its world premiere on BBC Radio 2.

‘Story Of A Heart’ features music by Benny Andersson and lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus, which has instantly attracted worldwide attention as a new song by the ABBA songwriting team.

The song is now available to listen online and ABBA fans everywhere have been commenting. Many have made comparisons to past B&B productions – that it sounds like ABBA, Gemini, Josefin Nilsson, even a song from Chess.

But in truth of course it sounds like all of those. Or more accurately, ‘Story Of A Heart’ and all the songs by those various acts sound like Benny Andersson songs. Benny has a distinctive style that has asserted itself going right back to ‘Sunny Girl’ by the Hep Stars in 1965. Almost immediately a Benny Andersson composition sounds like a Benny Andersson composition.

And that’s why when Benny still performs today he’s just as likely to play an ABBA hit as one of the folkish tunes he’s written for BAO – to him it’s they’re not ABBA songs or Hep Stars songs or BAO songs, they are all music that he has written.

Listen to ‘Story Of A Heart’ and leave your comments at icethesite.

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11 Responses to “Story Of A Heart and the music of Benny Andersson”

  1. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    News on B&B.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7987152.stm

    Thank you for the fashion

    Advertisement
    Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus on the 10th anniversary of Mamma Mia!

    By Lawrence Pollard
    Arts reporter, BBC World Service

    “They were actually very comfortable, very easy to wear,” Benny Andersson says of Abba’s flamboyant silver and glitter stage shoes.

    But presumably it was easier for Andersson sitting down behind the piano instead of teetering like his band mates?

    “No, no, no, I mean they were really comfortable. I wore them around the house for three or four years.

    Andersson and Ulvaeus were at a 10th anniversary performance in London
    “I got them in London, with blue snakeskin squares.”

    Andersson and fellow Abba songwriter Bjorn Ulvaeus are back in London for the 10th anniversary of Mamma Mia! – the world-conquering musical based round some of their best-known tunes.

    Since its world premiere in the West End on 6 April 1999, the stage show has been seen by 32 million people in 190 cities around the world and has been performed in nine different languages.

    Last summer’s smash hit film version, starring Meryl Streep, has already made more than £400m.

    ‘Nonsense language’

    Andersson and Ulvaeus are on relaxed and charming form as they remember how they wrote some of the hits featured in the show.

    “It would always start with a piano and a guitar and mumbling in a nonsense language we’d make up – half-English, half-Swedish, a bit French,” says Andersson.

    We’d meet at 10am, stop at 5pm. That’s the way to get rid of the garbage – you work it through

    Bjorn Ulvaeus on writing Abba songs

    “You never knew where you’d end up.

    “So, we’d start maybe playing a good song like Sloop John B [by the Beach Boys] and you’d come out of it into something quite different like Thank You for the Music.”

    They say they can’t remember how Dancing Queen – a number one hit single all over the world in 1976 and 1977 and a feel good highlight of the show and film – came about.

    “I don’t remember,” says Ulvaeus.

    “We’d meet at 10am, stop at 5pm.

    “That’s the way to get rid of the garbage – you work it through.”

    Lyricist Ulvaeus says his words were written last of all.

    “The words might come from a single image, a glimpse of something. We don’t know how it works – it’s a miracle. And I like that.”

    ‘Old energy’

    Abba never formally broke up.

    The pair talk of “deciding to take a break” in 1982 – a break which they still seem to be on.

    Which is just one reason why they’re plagued with their least favourite question from journalists and fans. Will Andersson, Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad get together again?

    It’s obvious they don’t need the fame or the money but wouldn’t it be fun?

    The Mamma Mia! movie was a huge hit last summer

    “No,” they both reply.

    “Why would you do the same again?” adds Andersson. “It would take you nowhere.”

    They say no amount of money would tempt them and have reportedly turned down a staggering $1bn (£683m) to tour.

    “I see myself walking on stage, as Abba, and an audience being disappointed because it wasn’t what they anticipated,” Ulvaeus says.

    “They’d want the old energy, the old youthfulness. Why disappoint them? Why disappoint myself? There’s absolutely no reason to do that.”

    Instead the duo are busy with musicals, which Andersson says take “more than just a three-minute song”.

    They had a big hit in their home country of Sweden, with Kristina fran Duvemala, a big orchestral production about emigration and poverty, based on the work of Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg.

    It would be nicer to do something new, with the same team, but new story, new music and see what comes out

    Benny Andersson on a Mamma Mia! follow-up

    They’re preparing for performances in English in New York in September.

    They’re not interested in a Mamma Mia! follow-up using remaining Abba hits.

    “It would be nicer to do something new, with the same team, but new story, new music and see what comes out,” Andersson says.

    “I’d like that, that’d be interesting. Better than recycling again.”

    If they can recapture some of the magic that made Abba such a huge global success, they could have another hit show on their hands.

    Abba were known for their flamboyant fashion as well as their music

    It seems the catchy, upbeat songs of Abba which drive Mamma Mia! have earned the group some unlikely fans over the years.

    Joe Strummer, of punk band The Clash, was apparently an admirer, while The Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious once asked Faltskog and Lyngstad for their autographs.

    But surely most music fans see The Clash and Abba as polar opposites?

    “Yeah, us too,” says Bjorn. “But I don’t think styles matter that much – they can recognise if something’s good even if your style was far away from theirs.”

    So Abba and The Clash had some things in common?

    “Yes,” says Andersson. “But they didn’t have as nice costumes as we had.”

  2. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,,25682693-5005368,00.html

    Abba boys back in business with new albumArticle from: Font size: Decrease Increase Email article: Email Print article: Print Submit comment: Submit comment Cameron Adams and Shannon Deery

    June 24, 2009 06:59am
    ABBA is back – kind of: 35 years after the band first rocked the world with Eurovision smash Waterloo, Abba mania is set to sweep Australia.

    Songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the sexagenarian duo behind Abba’s hits, have surprised fans with their first joint composition in 15 years.

    Industry experts have hailed the return of the Swedish group’s trademark sound, with some predicting the pair’s album to move quickly up the charts.

    Story of a Heart – credited to The Benny Andersson Band – features Swedish singer Helen Sjoholm.

    It is the first international single for the band, which Andersson has fronted for 20 years. Known as Benny Andersson’s Orkester in their native Sweden, the single is one of 13 tracks on the album, also called Story of a Heart.

    Ulvaeus has written lyrics for the album, which features several older Orkester songs translated into English, as well as material only previously released in Sweden.

    “I wanted to make music based on the Swedish folk tradition, but with new songs written by me,” Andersson told Abba’s official website.

    Australian music stalwart Molly Meldrum predicted the single would be a smash.

    “It’s very good. It’s very Abba but why not?” he said.

    “There’s a whole new audience who are so internet-savvy, people will discover it – it’ll get immediate international attention no mater what.”

    The Benny Andersson Band will perform in London in July, but there are no plans for further touring.

    The album looks to be the closest the world will get to an Abba revival. The foursome split in 1982 and last performed together in public in 1986.

    But lasting Abba fever has moved promoters all over the world to outbid each other to secure the group’s reunion.

    Andersson and Ulvaeus still refuse to re-form the group, despite a billion-dollar offer.

    But the group reunited in July last year for the premiere of Mamma Mia!.

    With 380 million albums sold, the band’s back catalogue remains one of the most lucrative in music.

    Story of a Heart will be released here on July 6.

  3. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25681211-2902,00.html

    Abba mania to hit Melbourne _ again

    Cameron Adams and Shannon Deery

    June 24, 2009 12:00am
    ABBA is back – kind of: 35 years after the band first rocked the world with Eurovision smash Waterloo, Abba mania is set to sweep Melbourne.

    Songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the sexagenarian duo behind Abba’s hits, have surprised fans with their first joint composition in 15 years.

    Industry experts have hailed the return of the Swedish group’s trademark sound, with some predicting the pair’s album to move quickly up the charts.

    Story of a Heart – credited to The Benny Andersson Band – features Swedish singer Helen Sjoholm.

    It is the first international single for the band, which Andersson has fronted for 20 years. Known as Benny Andersson’s Orkester in their native Sweden, the single is one of 13 tracks on the album, also called Story of a Heart.

    Ulvaeus has written lyrics for the album, which features several older Orkester songs translated into English, as well as material only previously released in Sweden.

    “I wanted to make music based on the Swedish folk tradition, but with new songs written by me,” Andersson told Abba’s official website.

    Melbourne music stalwart Molly Meldrum predicted the single would be a smash.

    “It’s very good. It’s very Abba but why not?” he said.

    “There’s a whole new audience who are so internet-savvy, people will discover it – it’ll

    get immediate international attention no mater what,” he said.

    The Benny Andersson Band will perform in London in July, but there are no plans for further touring.

    The album looks to be the closest the world will get to an Abba revival. The foursome split in 1982 and last performed together in public in 1986.

    But lasting Abba fever has moved promoters all over the world to outbid each other to secure the group’s reunion.

    Andersson and Ulvaeus still refuse to re-form the group, despite a billion-dollar offer.

    But the group reunited in July last year for the premiere of Mamma Mia!

    With 380 million albums sold, the band’s back catalogue remains one of the most lucrative in music.

    Story of a Heart will be released here on July 6.

  4. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/album-benny-andersson-band-story-of-a-heart-polydor-1729307.html

    Album: Benny Andersson Band, Story Of A Heart (Polydor)
    (Rated 3/ 5 )
    Reviewed by Andy Gill

    Friday, 3 July 2009

    Since Abba ceased trading, Benny Andersson has indulged his abiding love for Swedish folk music with his own 16-piece band.

    Story Of A Heart is compiled from the band’s three albums of North European folk-band music, from the oompah tubas and glockenspiels of the calliope-style “Cirkus Finemang” and the dashing polka clarinets and xylophones of “Jehu”, to the accordion and horns of “Birthday Waltz For Mona”. Further west, the loping tin-whistle and piercing lead guitar of “Glasgow Boogie” recalls Mike Oldfield in folksy mood, while proceedings are punctuated by the occasional Satie-esque piano instrumental and ’50s MOR outings. But the biggest attraction is likely to be the tracks on which Andersson is reunited with lyricist Bjorn Ulvaeus, such as the title-track and “You Are My Man”, an impassioned country-soul number infused with Scandinavian melancholy in lines like “You sit for hours on end, all stern-faced and quiet”. Most impressive is “Fait Accompli”, which revisits the mood, chords and structure of “Winner Takes It All”, with precision and brevity: “One minute we’re on, next minute you’re gone/ There’s no more ‘we’, it’s fait accompli”.

    Download this: ‘Fait Accompli’, ‘You Are My Man’, ‘Glasgow Boogie’, ‘Birthday Waltz For Mona’, ‘Jehu’

  5. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/9zcz

    The Benny Andersson Band Story of a Heart ReviewAlbum. Released 06 July 2009.
    Discography information comes from MusicBrainz. You can add or edit information about Story of a Heart at musicbrainz.org.

    BBC Review
    To those not aware of Benny’s folk roots this album may come as a bit of a surprise.

    Chris Jones 2009-07-03

    To the majority of UK residents Göran Bror Benny Andersson , one of the ‘B’s in ABBA has been a man whose reputation as a music maker ended somewhere around the era of Chess, although of course his role as co-ecutive producer (along with his most famous wrtiting partner Bjorn Ulvaeus) of the musical Mama Mia! has kept his biggest legacy alive and well. But to fans and Swedes he’s a busy man, not least with his 16-piece Benny Andersson Orkester wherein he’s been combining a love of Swedish ( and European) folk, big bands, early jazz and Bach to spectacular, if idiosyncratic, effect. Story Of A Heart, with its combination of older BOA material and new compositions is designed to bring his CV up to date for non-Scandinavians.

    To those not aware of Benny’s folk roots this album may come as a bit of a surprise (his first major success was with The Hep Stars, a huge pop act in Sweden who combined his love of traditional music and rock ‘n’ roll). Songs from his back catalogue like Glasgow Boogie, Jehu or Tyrolean Schottische combine celtic forms with jolly brass and wheezing accordions and Trolska demonstrates his love of his nation’s native music. It’s life-affirming, purely instrumental fare, and a far cry from his more famous material. Elsewhere we’re offered Debussy-like cinematic beauty in the piano meditation of Song From The Second Floor.

    But Story Of A Heart’s USP is undoubtedly the title track; the first song he’s written with Bjorn in 15 years and sung by Swedish star, Helen Sjöholm. It’s a slice of pure B&B magic, albeit a little too slick and sweet for some palates. But it was ever thus with ABBA, who often navigated the grey area betwixt cheese and chart perfection. Elsewhere both Helen and former Chess star Tommy Körberg deliver more pop tunes which mainly fall into the style of 20s blues or 50s rock ‘n’ roll ballads (You Are My Man, Fait Accompli and (If This IS) Our Last Dance), delivered confidently with musical theatre at their heart.

    It’s an odd mixture of styles that will neither appeal to hardcore musicologists or ABBA fans, but it does showcase a man whose talents are both eclectic and accomplished.

    Tracks
    1 Glasgow Boogie 2 Trolska 3 Story of a Heart 4 Bed of Roses 5 You Are My Man 6 Cirkus Finemang 7 Fait Accompli 8 Song From the Second Floor 9 Birthday Waltz for Mona 10 If This Is Our Last Dance 11 Jehu 12 Tyrolean Schottische 13 The Stars 14 P.S.

  6. vincent Says:

    Its in the UK Itunes store under Benny Anderssons Orkester

    • Ian Cole Says:

      Thanks for the tip Vincent. I found the same with the Australian iTunes story. Also searching for just “Benny Andersson” does not find Story Of A Heart.

  7. The One Show Says:

    On Friday 3rd July 09 the BBC’s The One Show had Benny Andersson from ABBA as a guest on the programme.

    As a tribute to this musical legend, our presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley thought it only fitting to don catsuits, flares and platform heels in their take of ABBA’s hit Take a Chance on Me.

    We thought the following video might be of interest and entertainment to you and your readers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theoneshow/backstage/2009/07/christine-and-adrians-abba-tri.html

    Enjoy!

  8. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Benny and BAB on charts

    http://www.chcmedia.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=26009

    Singles
    30. Benny Andersson Band – Story Of A Heart (NEW) (CR-30)

    Albums
    16. Benny Andersson Band – Story Of A Heart (NEW) (CR-16)

  9. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Benny on another music chart news.

    http://mog.com/blog_post/content/723/1390626

    Chart Watch Britain: July 12, 2009
    Posted 2 days ago
    Artist:Michael JacksonOur weekly recap of veteran artists on the current British music charts. Chart highlights:

    Michael Jackson’s hold on the British charts may be letting up a bit, although it is still strong. For the third week, he has the number one album with Essential Michael Jackson and a total of 9 charting albums, including those with the Jackson 5. That’s down two from last week
    On the singles chart, Jackson has 30 tracks (including those by the Jackson 5 and USA for Africa), down from 37 last week. Songs that were performed during his Memorial service, along with They Don’t Care About Us, from the This is It rehearsal clip, all are moving up while all others are beginning to move down the charts. On the R&B singles, Jackson has 17 out of the 40, the same as last week.
    The other big story of the week is the premier of the Benny Andersson Band. The former ABBA star’s first album with the group, Story of a Heart, premiers at 29 while the single of the same name starts at 90.

    Previous week position noted in parenthesis.

    Top 100 British Albums

    #1 (1) – Essential – Michael Jackson
    #2 (-) – Lungs – Florence & the Machine

    #3 (10) – Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
    #4 (6) – Thriller – Michael Jackson

    #5 (82) – The Motown Years – Michael Jackson & Jackson 5
    #7 (3) – Number Ones – Michael Jackson

    #9 (18) – Thriller 25 – Michael Jackson
    #14 (5) – King of Pop – Michael Jackson
    #15 (23) – The Very Best of – Michael Jackson & Jackson 5

    #17 (33) – History: Past, Present & Future, Book 1 – Michael Jackson
    #19 (9) – Greatest Hits – Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band

    #23 (20) – The Very Best of – Jim Reeves

    #28 (13) – Flying High – Ali Campbell
    #29 (-) – Story of a Heart – Benny Andersson Band
    #30 (27) – The Music of My Life – Neil Sedaka
    #47 (35) – Let It Roll – George Harrison
    #49 (56) – Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA
    #51 (48) – The Very Best of – Cat Stevens

    #58 (64) – Legend – Bob Marley & the Wailers
    #60 (45) – Greatest Hits – Neil Young
    #62 (41) – Working on a Dream – Bruce Springsteen
    #68 (51) – Hits Out of Hell – Meat Loaf
    #77 (59) – The Liberty of Norton Folgate – Madness
    #81 (102) – Definitive Collection – Stevie Wonder
    #84 (100) – Piece of the Action: The Best of – Meat Loaf
    #88 (81) – The Collection – Simon & Garfunkel

    #90 (109) – Ultimate Collection – Eurythmics
    #98 (61) – The Collection – Mike Oldfield
    Top 100 British Singles

    #1 (1) – Evacuate the Dance Floor – Cascada

    #2 (3) – Bulletproof – La Roux

    #3 (2) – Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
    #4 (5) – Paparazzi – Lady Gaga

    #5 (4) – When Love Takes Over – David Guetta Featuring Kelly Rowland

    #20 (13) – Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
    #21 (10) – Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    #25 (12) – Thriller – Michael Jackson
    #28 (32) – They Don’t Care About Us – Michael Jackson
    #29 (25) – Black or White – Michael Jackson
    #31 (26) – Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson
    #32 (19) – Beat It – Michael Jackson
    #36 (118) – Who’s Lovin’ You – Jackson 5

    #39 (33) – Earth Song – Michael Jackson
    #40 (35) – You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
    #42 (34) – The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
    #44 (63) – Heal the World – Michael Jackson
    #45 (40) – Bad – Michael Jackson
    #48 (38) – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
    #49 (65) – I’ll Be There – Jackson 5
    #51 (83) – Will You Be There – Michael Jackson
    #57 (43) – I Want You Back – Jackson 5
    #59 (50) – ABC – Jackson 5
    #62 (90) – Human Nature – Michael Jackson
    #69 (46) – Ben – Michael Jackson
    #74 (-) – Smile – Michael Jackson
    #77 (193) – We Are the World – USA for Africa

    #79 (59) – Can You Feel It – Jacksons
    #80 (54) – Rock With You – Michael Jackson
    #84 (55) – Blame It On the Boogie – Jacksons
    #87 (60) – You Rock My World – Michael Jackson
    #89 (66) – Leave Me Alone – Michael Jackson
    #90 (-) – Story of a Heart – Benny Andersson Band

    #91 (57) – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson
    #95 (97) – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer) – Ironik/Chipmunk/Elton John

    #100 (78) – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – Michael Jackson

    The balance of the charts are after the cut. Top 40 British R&B Albums#1 (1) – Essential – Michael Jackson#2 (2) – R&B In the Mix – Various Artists#3 (3) – The E.N.D. – Black Eyed Peas#4 (4) – I Am…Sasha Fierce – Beyonce#5 (-) – Blacksummers’ Night – Maxwell#27 (31) – Ultimate – Whitney HoustonTop 40 British R&B Singles#1 (1) – Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson#2 (-) – Diamond Rings – Chipmunk Featuring Emile Sande#3 (2) – Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas#4 (3) – Knock You Down – Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo#5 (10) – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) – Pitbull#6 (5) – Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson#8 (4) – Thriller – Michael Jackson#9 (12) – They Don’t Care About Us – Michael Jackson#10 (7) – Black or White – Michael Jackson#12 (8) – Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson#14 (13) – Earth Song – Michael Jackson#15 (15) – You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson#16 (14) – The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson#17 (21) – Heel the World – Michael Jackson#22 (27) – Human Nature – Michael Jackson#27 (17) – Rock With You – Michael Jackson#29 (18) – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson#32 (29) – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer) – Ironik/Chipmunk/Elton John#37 (30) – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – Michael Jackson#38 (26) – Remember the Time – Michael Jackson#40 (28) – Stranger in Moscow – Michael JacksonTop 40 British Rock Albums#1 (2) – 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day#2 (1) – Killswitch Engine – Killswitch Engine#3 (3) – Greatest Hits – Guns N’ Roses#4 (8) – Black Holes & Revelations – Muse#5 (5) – Minutes to Midnight – Linkin Park#10 (7) – Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith and Joe Satriani)#14 (10) – Back in Black – AC/DC#17 (20) – Metallica – Metallica#24 (27) – Death Magnetic – Metallica#27 (18) – Black Ice – AC/DC#28 (31) – Piece of the Action: The Best of – Meat Loaf#30 (37) – Very Best of – Aerosmith#33 (35) – If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It – AC/DC#38 (40) – Mothership – Led Zeppelin#40 (R) – High Voltage – AC/DCTop 40 British Rock Singles#1 (1) – New Divide – Linkin Park#2 (2) – If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback#3 (3) – What I’ve Done – Linkin Park#4 (4) – Last Chance – Shinedown#5 (6) – Iris – Goo Goo Dolls#8 (5) – Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi#10 (12) – Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen#14 (16) – Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin#15 (15) – Nothing Else Matters – Metallica#16 (17) – Enter Sandman – Metallica#17 (18) – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen#23 (26) – We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions – Queen#25 (20) – Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd#32 (R) – Ace of Spades – Motorhead#34 (31) – Paranoid – Black Sabbath#37 (39) – One – Metallica#40 (R) – All Along the Watchtower – Jimi HendrixTop 40 British Dance Singles#1 (1) – When Love Takes Over – David Guetta Featuring Kelly Rowland#2 (2) – Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) – Freemasons & Sophie Ellis-Bextor#3 (3) – Raindrops – Basement Jaxx#4 (4) – Bonkers – Dizee Rascal/Armand Van Helden#5 (12) – Warrior’s Dance – ProdigyNo Veteran Artists Charting

  10. Jaromír Vít Says:

    2009st album of Benny is a mighty all right! More importantly, and as such cheered again.

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